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Tampa Bay Buccaneers star Rob Gronkowski says he’ll test NFL free agent market

Feb 4, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Future Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a match made in heaven last season after he came out of a one-year retirement. He joined former New England Patriots teammate Tom Brady in Florida, leading the Buccaneers to a shocking Super Bowl title in the process.

Even as one of the biggest-name players to hit the NFL free agent market, there wasn’t much talk about Gronkowski opting to play elsewhere in 2021. According to the always-boisterous four-time champion, that has changed some.

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Rob Gronkowski says he’ll test NFL free agent market

Rob Gronkowski
Feb 10, 2021; Tampa Bay, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski during a boat parade to celebrate victory in Super Bowl LV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

“I definitely want to be back with the Buccaneers. That’s where my eyesight is. That’s where I’m leaning toward, big time,” Gronkowski said on Monday. “But with the free agency process, you just never know what may happen. There’s some other teams interested out there, too. I’ve also never been a part of the free agency process, so I actually want to dip my toes in, just to see what’s out there.”

This could simply be a way of Gronkowski creating leverage in negotiations with the Buccaneers. They have been active in retaining their own free agents over the past week-plus, just recently re-signing star edge rusher Shaq Barrett. However, Tampa Bay is not in the greatest of cap situations. It will have to get creative to keep the team’s top remaining free agents.

Gronkowski, 31, recorded 45 receptions for 623 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2020 regular season. He also proved to be a more-willing blocker than during his nine-year career with the Patriots.

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Potential fits for Rob Gronkowski should he leave the Buccaneers

Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski scores TD in Super Bowl LV.
Feb 7, 2020; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski (87) celebrates after catching a pass for a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs during the second quarter of Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Obviously, the Las Vegas Raiders come to mind. Sin City is pretty much Gronkowski’s jam. Even then, Vegas boasts a tremendous tight end in Darren Waller. There’s no telling how Gronkowski would fit in on the field.

Realistically, the five-time Pro Bowler would want to join a legitimate contender if he were to leave the Buccaneers. Teams like the Seattle Seahawks (should they retain Russell Wilson), Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers would make sense in that regard.

For now, this could be posturing on the part of Rob Gronkowski. It will be interesting to see what comes of this should he opt not to re-sign with the Buccaneers.